A couple years ago, a Mathematics teacher at Lincoln High School in Des Moines, Iowa — Leland Michael created a Facebook post that just never seems to get old, especially around this time of the year. He told a story about encounters with different sets of parents while school supply shopping in Walmart, and how much everything parents say and do around their kids makes a difference in their education.
Mr. Leland's photo of some school supplies and the story went viral on Facebook, reaching over 474K likes!
He mentions feeling "pretty jaded" after hearing parents complaining in the school supplies aisle.
“This is just ridiculous, I don’t know how these teachers think we are supposed to get all this stuff,” he overheard parents saying.
“As they complained, they seemed to be oblivious to the fact that my cart was filled with a class set of all the supplies they were buying ... which should have been a pretty clear indication that I was one of those greedy teachers they were complaining about,” Michael remarked in the FB post.
When he was at the checkout line, a dad with his daughter noticed Michael was a teacher and turned around to express his genuine appreciation. After paying, the man turned around and handed Michael a $25 Walmart gift card.
“I just want to thank you for everything you do. I see your cart is full with supplies, and I just wanted to help out as much as I can.”
Michael went on in his post to say that while he was moved by the generosity and kindness, the part that stuck with him most was the difference between the lesson this man gave to his daughter compared to the other parents he'd met earlier complaining about teachers. The lesson this dad gave his daughter at that moment could be the most important lesson she learns all school year, inside or outside of school.
“The kids who heard their parents complaining heard this message: ‘School is not important enough to spend money on it, teachers are not to be trusted and have bad judgement, and learning does not require investment.’
The kid whose dad handed me the gift card heard, ‘School is important enough that we should give more than required to make sure it is successful, teachers should be respected and valued, and learning requires us giving it everything we have.’”
He went on to state that he understands some families struggle financially to buy their kids the necessary school supplies each year.
“However, as a parent, do your best to send the right message to your child. The man who gave me the gift card not only made my day, but I know that his daughter will enter the classroom this year with a very different perspective about her teacher and her education, and that is extremely powerful!”
Bottomline, kids learn by example. While we do our best as teachers to educate them to be successful academically and in life, lessons like the one from this dad are just as much, if not even more important in their education.
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